voice tips

I Bet You Thought This Would Be All Fun and Games

It's just talking, you said. It's the easiest job in the world, you assured yourself. You love talking in goofy voices, and look, you even own a microphone! Easy peasy.

Not so fast there, buddy. There's a lot more to consider.

Do you know how to make an invoice? How about creating an invoicing system that can track client names, pull up anything from any year you've been in business in a couple clicks? Do you like tracking all of your expenses and keeping reports on them? How about marketing and advertising, writing your own blogs, building your own web site (with samples, client list, rate sheet, a call to action, effective layout......), or developing the engineering skills to make demo after demo after demo as needed? Do you have enough liquid cash on hand to be an exhibitor at a convention, or to build a soundproof booth in your house, or to buy the equipment and software you need to be competitive? Does dealing with delinquent clients, renegotiating/auditioning/arguing with longtime clients every time they have a new project, or creating an LLC or corporation complete with accounts, books, payroll, and quarterly taxes sound fun?

Get Organized, Stay Energized

If you're anything like me, prone to depression and anxiety episodes, the freelance life can be pretty dangerous. I don't punch a clock. I don't even put pants on sometimes. But, the workload is drastically bigger than any one job at a company, as I'm currently the talent, the bookkeeper, the junior lawyer, the CEO and the janitor. This doesn't me from occasionally freezing, and having a day or two with no productivity to speak of. With so much to do, it's tough to sit down and make yourself start somewhere. If you're going to pursue voice over as a career, make sure you block time out every day to exercise. It's really easy to end up glued to your computer for twelve hours on end, so put some yoga or outside time on your calendar.

Also, organization makes everything better. I put everything I have to do on a Google calendar, which ranges from session dates and times to when I should stand up, walk to the kitchen, and make myself food. Because I WILL push off eating if I don't know exactly when I'm going to do it. This reaches all the way down to your workflow and how you prioritize and manage tasks (if you have a way that a human being is actually capable of sticking to all the time, please email me). I don't always stick to my calendar 100%, but it helps tremendously when trying to balance marketing efforts, audition and session times, and bookkeeping.

Take the time to make an attack plan for the week, and work out and get sun shine at least once a day. It gives you purpose and prevents you from falling into a depressive slump.



Skype and Audacity - An ISDN Killer Combo?

Clients often ask me if I have access to an ISDN line. Not a phone patch, not ipDtl or Source Connect or Skype, but ISDN specifically. Why do people still insist on using this outdated, flawed, hideously expensive model? Inertia, I guess. I can't wait for the day we all accept that having a dedicated phone line to run sessions through is ridiculous given the fact that all of us have a much cheaper, much more efficient, and just as reliable internet connection. I've run several sessions simply using Skype and Audacity together. I also have a plugin that records my Skype sessions and bounces them to mp3 (I mainly use this for my coaching sessions) just in case. I like Audacity for times when I need to run multiple programs simultaneously, as bigger DAW's like Cubase and Pro Tools tend to hog the audio driver, causing talking on Skype to be more troublesome than it has to be. With this method, I get a crystal clear recording of my end of the conversation, which I can then edit and send to the client. Sure, with ISDN the client instantly has the session on their end, but I consider it a bargaining chip to be able to offer to edit the session afterwards and simply send it via Dropbox, Drive, or any other number of free, easy-to-use delivery systems.

So, should we continue to pay for a monthly subscription to a service whose rates are skyrocketing all over the country just to stay competitive, or should we continue to push these new, lighter, 100% more free services as a no-brainer alternative? I think you know my answer.